PARATY, Brazil – Hundreds of revelers are wrestling, tackling each other and throwing chunks of gunk while shaking it to samba and reggaeton at a Carnival beach party where clothes are optional but the mud is not.
The annual "Bloco da Lama," or "Mud Party," in this town about a 4-hour drive from Rio de Janeiro got started when Alesandra Cristiana was the first person to jump into thick black mud in an area of mangroves the size of several soccer fields. Amid 95-degree heat, dozens of onlookers then followed her lead, soon followed by a few hundred.
The party harkens back to 1986, when according to local lore a few teenagers hiking in a mangrove forest smeared themselves with mud to combat mosquitoes. They paraded through Paraty and a tradition was born.